I had the great opportunity to be part of the recent Growing with Google event here in Indianapolis, where I got to speak with Lisa Cohen Gevelber, Google’s VP of Marketing for the past 7 years as well as other members of the Adwords team.
Of course, we discussed the recent events of September 14th and Google’s restrictions on recovery center, addiction treatment, and rehab marketing using their tools.
While Google has been slowly allowing certain keywords to be available for advertising, the majority are still restricted, especially any going to Florida-based treatment centers.
As we all know, difficult as it is for some centers’ marketing efforts, this was a big win for the field as a whole. Too many shady operators that were out for a buck rather than to actually help those in need.
Google Says Centers Are Using Adwords All Wrong
More importantly though, we discussed the mistakes Google had made in promoting their own tools. Lisa and the other Google Adwords experts I spoke with were all in agreement that centers, and many other businesses and organizations, had been using them wrong.
You see, what most centers do is they all try to compete for the same small number of people with an immediate need searching for a treatment center. As we know, this is insanely expensive, and it barely works.
Why not? Well, as we here at Circle Social constantly advocate, and Google agrees, people buy from organizations they trust. Sure, you might be able to sell a pizza or some auto parts easily just by appearing at the top of results when someone searches on Google. But this rarely works for organizations that require a large amount of trust, examples being Recovery Centers, Child Cares, or Used Car Dealers, just to name a few.
Think about it. Would you ever use the services of any of those last three just because they were easy to find? Of course not! You would do a lot of additional research, call numerous places, and probably do some onsite visits. Because entrusting ourselves or our loved ones into someone else’s care, and at considerable cost, is not a decision made lightly.
How to Use Adwords and Other Forms of Digital Marketing
The key with Adwords and any other form of digital marketing, like Facebook, comes in the form of remarketing. Remarketing is where you track a visitor’s actions on your website or through your email newsletter and then send out relevant messaging based on their behavior. This is why ads for things you recently looked at online are always following you around the Internet.
For example, let’s say someone visits your Adult Outpatient Program page on your site. When set up correctly, Google Adwords, Facebook and other platforms can identify that person and then you can choose to send out relevant messaging such as an offer to come and meet members of your Alumni group during a special open house.
But, if someone is checking out your adult OP program, you don’t want to serve them an ad about your services for teens. That’s why different remarketing campaigns needs to be set up based on user behavior. What pages did they visit, what email newsletter’s did they open, or what links inside the newsletter did they click on?
This all allows for a comprehensive, integrated marketing strategy that builds trust and moves customers along a journey from initial interest to final decision.
So Adwords should be used the same. Don’t just target people looking for treatment now. Target people that are in the research phase. Maybe they are researching forms of treatment, or trying to learn about 12-step. Not only will your cost-per-click (CPC) be much, much cheaper, you’ll also grow awareness about your center to people that will be ready to register a couple months down the line.
Through remarketing, you maintain their interest and continue to build trust. Then, when they’re ready, they won’t even bother researching other centers or continuing to look online. They will already know you and how you can meet their needs better than anyone else. This is certainly a longer process, but it works wonders when trying to grow your census and build long-term sustainability for your center.
Constantly competing for the people that are so far gone they’ve resorted to a Google search as a last resort is a losing proposition. It makes your business dependent on both search volume and level of competition for keywords, two things you can’t control.